Perl FAQ 2.2: Have any books or magazine articles been published about Perl?

Perl FAQ 2.2

Have any books or magazine articles been published about Perl?

There are a number of books either available or planned. Mostly chronologically, they are:

Programming Perl (the ``Camel Book''):

Author: Larry Wall and Randal Schwartz
Publisher: O'Reilly and Associates
ISBN 0-937175-64-1 (English)
ISBN 4-89052-384-7 (Japanese)
ISBN 3-446-17257-2 (German) (Programmieren in Perl)
(translator: Hanser Verlag)

This is probably the most well known and most useful book for 4.036 and earlier. This part of O'Reilly's hugely successful ``Nutshell Handbook'' series. Besides serving as a reference guide for Perl, it also contains tutorial material and is a great source of examples and cookbook procedures, as well as wit and wisdom, tricks and traps, pranks and pitfalls. The code examples contained therein are available from or Corrections and additions to the book can be found in the Perl4 man page right before the BUGS section under the heading ERRATA AND ADDENDA.

Learning Perl (the ``Llama Book''):

Another of O'Reilly's ``Nutshell Handbooks'', by Randal Schwartz. This book is a smaller, gentler introduction to perl and is based off of Randal's perl classes. While in general this is a good book for learning perl (like its title), early printings did contain many typos and don't cover some of the more interesting features of perl. Please check the errata sheet at, as well as the on-line examples. If you can't find these books in your local technical bookstore, they may be ordered directly from O'Reilly by calling 1-800-998-9938 if in North America and 1-707-829-0515 otherwise.

Johan Vromans* created a beautiful reference guide. The reference guide comes with the Camel book in a nice, glossy format. The LaTeX (source) and PostScript (ready to print) versions are available for FTP from in Europe or from in the United States. Obsolete versions in TeX or troff may still be available, but these versions don't print as nicely. See also:

Johan has also updated and released a reference guide based on version 5.000. This is available from the same places as the 4.036 guide. This version is also available from in the /pub/gnu section along with the perl5 source. It may be added to the standard perl5 distribution sometime after 5.002. If you are using version 5.000, you will want to get this version rather than the 4.036 version.

Larry routinely carries around a camel stamp to use when autographing copies of his book. If you can catch him at a conference you can usually get him to sign your book for you.

Prentice Hall also has two perl books.

The first is Perl by Example by Ellie Quigley. (385 pages, $26.96, ISBN 0-13-122839-0) A perl tutorial (perl4); every feature is presented via an annotated example and sample output. Reviews of this book have varied widely. Many new perl users have used this book with much success, while many ``veteran'' programmers have had many complaints about it.

The second book is called Software Engineering with Perl by Carl Dichter and Mark Pease. Randal Schwartz was a technical reviewer for this book and notes this:

SEwP is not meant as instruction in the Perl language, but rather as an example of how Perl may be used to assist in the semi-formal software engineering development cycles. There's a lot of Perl code that's fairly well commented, but most of the book describes software engineering methodologies. For the perl-challenged, there's a light treatment of the language as well, but they refer to the llama and the camel for the real meat.

SAMS Publishing also has a Perl book available, as part of their ``Teach Yourself in 21 Days'' series, called Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days. ISBN 0-672-30586-0 Price: $29.95, 841 Pages. This book is the first book to have a section devoted to version 5.000, although it was written during an alpha stage and may not necessarily reflect current reality.

Please note that none of the above books are perfect, all have some inaccurances and typos. The two which Larry is directly associated with (the O'Reilly books) are probably the most technically correct, but also the most dated. Carefully looking over any book you are considering purchasing will save you much time, money, and frustration.

Starting in the March, 1995 edition of Unix Review. Randal Schwartz* has been authoring a bi-monthly Perl column. This has so far been an introductory tutorial.

Larry Wall has published a 3-part article on perl in Unix World (August through October of 1991), and Rob Kolstad also had a 3-parter in Unix Review (May through July of 1990). Tom Christiansen also has a brief overview article in the trade newsletter Unix Technology Advisor from November of 1989. You might also investigate ``The Wisdom of Perl'' by Gordon Galligher from SunExpert magazine; April 1991 Volume 2 Number 4. The Dec 92 Computer Language magazine also contains a cover article on Perl, ``Perl: the Programmers Toolbox''.

Many other articles on Perl have been recently published. If you have references, especially on-line copies, please mail them to the FAQ maintainer for inclusion is this notice.

The USENIX LISA (Large Installations Systems Administration) Conference have for several years now included many papers of tools written in Perl. Old proceedings of these conferences are available; look in your current issue of ``;login:'' or send mail to for further information.

Japan seems to be jumping with Perl books. If you can read japanese here are a few you might be interested in. Thanks to Jeffrey Friedl* and Ken Lunde* for this list (NOTE: my screen cannot handle japanese characters, so this is all in English for the moment NOTE2: These books are written in Japanese, these titles are just translations):

Title: Welcome to Perl Country	(Perl-no Kuni-he Youkoso)
Authors: Kaoru Maeda, Hiroshi Koyama, Yasushi Saito and Arihito
Pages: 268+9	    	    	Publisher: Science Company	
Pub. Date: April 25, 1993   	ISBN: 4-7819-0697-4 		
Price: 2472Y	    	    	Author Email:
Comments: Written during the time the Camel book was being 
translated.  A useful introduction, but uses jperl (Japanese Perl)
which is not necessarily compatible.

Title: How to Write Perl (Perl Shohou) Author: Toshiyuki Masui Pages: 352 Publisher: ASCII Corporation Pub. Date: July 1, 1993 ISBN: 4-7561-0281-6 Price: 3200Y Author Email: Comments: More advanced than ``Welcome..'' and not meant as an introduction. Uses the standard perl and has examples for handling Japanese text.

Title: Introduction to Perl (Nyuumon Perl) Author: Shinji Kono Pages: 203 Publisher: ASCII Corporation Date: July 11, 1994 ISBN: 4-7561-0292-1 Price: 1800Y Author Email: Comments: Uses the interactive Perl debugger to explain how things work.

Title: Perl Programming Authors: L Wall & R Schwartz Translator: Yoshiyuki Kondo Pages: 637+32 Publisher: Softbank Corporation Pub. Date: February 28, 1993 ISBN: 4-89052-384-7 Price: 4500Y Author Email: Comments: Official Japanese translation of the Camel book, ``Programming Perl''. Somewhat laced with translator notes to explain the humour. The most useful book. Also includes the Perl Quick Reference -- in Japanese!

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